1. Describe how the class planned to give Mr. Nanthan a nasty gift to humiliate him.
2. Describe how Mr. Nanthan accepted the gift graciously.
3. Describe the speech that Mr. Nanthan gave during the concert.
4. Describe how embarrassed the class felt after the speech.
“Let’s insult him with our gift”, I said through tightly gritted teeth.
The class was planning to present all the subject teachers with gifts on Teachers’ Day the next day, and wanted to purposely humiliate Mr. Nanthan, our Biology teacher, was disliked by most of us. He unsparing gave us tons of homework to do. He also had the habit of making us to back to school during the holidays for extra lessons.
I explained to the class that Mr. Nathan was a sensitive man and we should, instead of giving him flowers, give him a cactus! The class was thrilled at this idea and was unanimous in agreeing that it was a fitting insult for such an unpleasant person. He would indeed be terribly humiliated!
The next day, in the midst of the Teachers’ Day celebrations, we publicly presented our “gift” to him. Attached was a message that read. “The gift tells you what we think of you”.
Mr. Nathan was startled at first, but he recovered quickly and thanked us graciously. During the Teachers’ Day concert, however, an unscheduled item was announced – a speech by Mr. Nathan. It was a speech that I shall never forget.
Mr. Nathan first thanked our class for the thoughtful gift and then displayed the cactus to the entire school. There was an ourburst of laughter. Unruffled, Mr. Nathan explained that he thought it was a meaningful gift for the cactus was a life-giving plant that sustains weary travellers in the desert. Symbolically, it signified life and growth. In a sincere voice, Mr. Nathan said it pleased him to think that he had inspired his students to give him such a profound gift.
With the exception of my class which looked awkward and sheepish, the entire school gave Mr. Nathan a round of applause.